Story time about my Ram and a transmission shop. (Long Read)

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Damn it, Keith...
Jun 8, 2016
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Phoenix, AZ
From the top...

2001 Ram 1500 Sport 4x4


2003 WJ Limited

Both torque converters are starting to go out. I take the Ram to a shop near where I live with a torque converter. I pay them $400 to switch it out.

I ride with one of the mechanics on the test drive. There's a nasty vibration that wasn't there before, and it gets worse the faster you go. The mechanic who goes on the test drive with me insists it's either out of balance tires, or something loose in the suspension. I debate with him that I'm convinced it's a rotational part that has something to do with balance... and it's not the tires. After a long debate, he puts the truck back up on the lift and proceeds to tell me to put the truck up on jack stands when I get home and use a pry bar on the suspension to see what's loose. I keep telling him I think he is wrong on that theory.

Eventually we turn around while underneath and we spot something. The bolts holding the front driveshaft onto the transfer case are backed out almost all the way. Yup, that's what is vibrating so bad.

He tightens the bolts as much as he can, we go on a second test drive, vibration gone. Imagine the potential disaster if I had listened to him.

It gets finished, in goes the WJ.

A couple days go by and a couple issues like sluggish acceleration and jumping occur on the Ram. No big deal, take it back when the WJ gets out and have them figure out what's wrong.

A couple days later the shop has bad news about the WJ, it will crank but won't start. They replace multiple sensors with no luck, and eventually come to the conclusion that it's the computer. They try two different computers, which cost $150 which is how much they can get a computer for brand new according to the manager. Bullshit, that's how much they cost at the junkyard... anybody can get it for that price. Fast forward and the WJ has been in the shop for 2 weeks. I've had enough so I have them tow it to the dealership to figure it out because I know they'll get it done.

The dealership says they're backed up about a week. A week later they finally dig into it, guess what, it's the computer... it's fried and there's a broken wire in the harness.

I tell the dealership that the shop already tried two computers with no luck. I'm informed by the dealer that when a WJ computer fries, you need a brand new one from Chrysler. Once the computer is programmed in a WJ, that's it. It can't be reprogrammed to another one.

So the new one takes 5 days to get here. They install it, it starts and runs fine. $1200 for parts and labor. I decide paying the shop the $450 for the labor on the torque converter isn't happening.

Turns out my battery died, so I had to get a new one. Might as well get an AGM battery. Great, new battery. I get home and there's steam coming from under the hood. I take it back and the dealer runs several tests to get it to overheat. They can't. Turns out, they tightened the radiator cap that I apparently bumped installing the new battery. Loose cap causing steam but not reading above normal operating temp will do that. No charge for that. WJ has been running fine since.

After the WJ comes out of the dealership, I put my truck back in. They claim it needs a tranny rebuild. Original word of mouth quote being $800-1200 depending on what it needs. Not bad I guess. Days later after being given several ETAs from the shop when it'll be finished, which they never met any of them, I'm slammed with a $1700 bill. I ask the manager what happened to that $800-1200 quote, he denies ever giving me that quote... even though my girlfriend was standing there when he said it. Whatever, I pay it.

My girlfriend picks it up and brings it to my house. I test drive it, sluggish start, and 50 feet down the road comes violent jerking and the truck almost stalling out. I call them right there and tell them it needs to go back. They said ok.

I ended up having a conversation with the manager and owner essentially telling them I'm not happy at all... about anything. I bring two vehicles with problems that aren't that big, and they left with problems way worse. One cost me $1200 to get running again, and the other is $1700 for a truck I can't even use. How the fuck can I trust them after this? Do I even want them touching my truck? Especially after it coming out after the rebuild, they left my truck covered in grease stains and hand prints that took 2 hours to clean off, most of which are still visible... great, there goes my paint. The owner tells me that if I want my money back, it's under warranty, so a refund isn't happening because "that's not how it works".

They called me later on to ask for a second chance. I agree reluctantly. I feel as though this will bite me in the ass. It does.

Between the time of the conversation, and the time I bring it back, there's a loud whining noise coming from the drivetrain. The sound is coming from the transmission. Eventually my speedometer goes out and ABS light comes on. It begins having issues stalling out when stopping, and violent jerking on occasion like something is binding up and releasing tension. The transmission also doesn't shift correctly and is slipping.

They call me and tell me after I bring my truck back in that my transfer case is the cause of my transmission failure. Fuckin... huh? Yeah sure... I believe that...

They'll rebuild the transmission again, but their price (again those words) for a used transfer case from the junkyard is $450... so basically what anybody would pay. That's not a rebuilt transfer case either mind you.

Since I don't believe shit they say at this point, I tell them I'll rebuild it myself. They agree. I take the transfer case, and instead I take it to a transmission shop across town and have them inspect it. The conclusion?

The shop I took my transfer case too lost a bolt, so they try to replace it. It's not the right size. They physically take it to the dealer, and the dealer runs a check on the case... it was built in 1988. Hence why the dealer part didn't match up. 231 transfer cases weren't exactly uniform pre 94.

All in all, the transfer case looks brand new inside according to them, and they document it along with the fact that the transfer case is not the cause of transmission failure (imagine that). $285 to have this done. This whole process lasted about a week.

I went back to the shop that fucked everything up today, to have them document on paper that my transfer case was the cause of the transmission failure.

The owner tells me instead that they accidentally gave me somebody else's transfer case that came out of a Chevy.

The shop owner says they're going to rebuild my transfer case free of charge, or reimburse me what I spent.

So I'm out $3000, still don't have a working truck, and once my truck is back out, I'm taking my truck to the shop I took somebody else's transfer case too and have them run a test on my transmission to see if it's working right, that will cost me $85.

After all this I have to say, it's been years since I've been this stressed out. I'm going to have to depend on this truck to tow my YJ dubbed "the strangler" back here from CA soon. In October, I have to depend on it to get me to Vegas for my sister's wedding and back.

The only reason I haven't lost my shit yet is because all of this has forced me to rely on my other YJ that actually runs, and because the heat forced me to remove my top and doors, I've been able to have some fun in a Jeep again. While it's been nice being 19 again, it's mother fucking Phoenix, AZ and having a truck with A/C is god damn nice, am I right?
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I just dropped off that transfer case about 30 minutes ago. So the agreement is that they're going to rebuild MY transfer case free of charge. For some reason this is going to take about a week to do.

I don't even know how to feel at this point honestly. Pissed off, confused, I don't even know.
Don't get po'd till you get the truck back, then if your happy, tell them, if you're not, then it might be time to let off some steam.

But, how big are them fellas anyway...
I mean, I could easily take anybody in that shop to town.

Possibly a nice steak dinner or something.

On a serious note, I'm withholding my temper for now. I have this feeling to keep letting them make it right. I like to use diplomacy these days, being a dick never really got me anywhere to be honest.
Ok... so...

My truck is back home finally. It worked flawlessly until it got halfway home. There's a whine coming from the drivetrain and it's quite loud, loud enough that I could hear it from 30 feet back in the YJ while my girlfriend drove it home.

After driving it myself a relatively short distance to get food, there's a definite whine coming from the middle of the drivetrain. The sound only happens while in gear, if you put the truck in neutral and coast to a stop, it's silent. If you leave the truck in gear, it's considerably loud while slowing down to a stop.

Since I wasn't there to supervise the entire process, I don't know what they did or didn't do.

They pulled the speed sensor and replaced it along with my rear diff fluid. They said there were chunks that came out, and the sensor was busted into pieces. They gave me all the parts they took out.

They're now claiming my speed sensor, and subsequently my fucked up rear diff is what's causing the torque converter failure, and subsequently, transmission failure. Reason being is because the faulty speed sensor is causing problems with the PCM, which is fucking with the torque converter lockup.

I'm going to regear the truck anyway, but that isn't something that's going to happen until later on when my finances recover.

So basically, I'm back to square one. I have a torque converter whine now, and I have no idea what's the cause since everything's been fucked with.

My number one suspicion right now is that they didn't flush the tranny cooler, and all the crap that was in there has recirculated throughout the transmission and torque converter.
I'm Glad I am not you right now. Sounds like you need to find a new shop.
I'm taking a dump at my lady's work right now, as soon as I'm done here, I'm taking my truck to the shop that inspected that transfer case so they can test the transmission. I'm going to see if they can narrow down what the cause of the bitchy torque converter is.

I went to the shop that rebuilt my transmission this morning, got my cores back for the torque converters, they say they used a different brand converter this time in case Daaco is putting out bad converters.

They're stumped as to what should be causing the converter problem... as am I.

In the meantime, I think I can modify my stock radiator fan shroud to work with the WJ fan swap I'm going to do at some point. I'm gonna do that along with the tranny deep pan, aftermarket tranny cooler, and trans temp gauge.

Other than that, I can't decide between 4.56 or 4.88s for my truck. 4.56 puts me at 2500 rpm roughly at 75mph, 4.88 puts me around 2700 rpm at 75mph. I've got 33s on my truck.
I learned the ahrd way about over gearing in my truck, In my F250 I went from 4:10 to 4:56 but should have stopped at 4:30. It was awesome while towing but empty on the highway it was to high of an RPM and ate fuel. It could pass everything but a gas station.

I would think a rear end that is bad would burn up your tranny before the torque converter?
Did you replace the shift solenoid? That caused a lot of problems on my 07 Ram. I thought my trans went out but that was all it was.
They claim they did all the updates and other shit on the transmission. Full blown rebuild basically.

I'm starting to wonder if 4.56 may even be too high.
When I got mine rebuilt they exclude the electronics, seemed to be common practice. Mine went out also shortly after my full rebuild. Luckily I trust my tranny guy.

google what people use for towing their 5th wheels, that is where I found my research for the f250, I haven't geared my Ram or even looked into it. I just know how much it sucks to regret a choice.
It's not a cheap choice either.

You will examine...

On the left is my stock 3.92s with the 33s that are on my truck right now, right would be with 4.10s

This would be 4.56 (left) vs 4.88 (right).
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I vote 4:10, 4:56 if you don't mind the high rpm. If you have stick exhaust it might not bug you so much
My best friend suggested 4.10s as well. While I am looking for as much torque to the ground as possible, I do a lot of highway traveling.

What I'm wanting to do is a 3" exhaust with a high flow cat, and a magnaflow muffler that isn't much louder than stock. Basically something that lets you hear the exhaust without waking up the neighborhood when I come home in the dead middle of the night... which is often.

The full list of future mods for my truck are a bigger throttle body, Hughes intake manifold, 2.02 iron ram heads, 1.7 roller rockers, hemifever tune, 3" exhaust, dual battery setup, high output alternator, WJ fan swap, transmission cooler, deep pan, trans temp gauge, gears, converting every light bulb on the truck to led, and tow mirrors.

Should have just bought a 2500 with a Cummins.
I love my 2500 with the Cummins.

Hemis are fun all around. I'm building an 06 charger. My 5.7 is now a 6.8. Gonna be quick
I'd be down for a 2nd gen Cummins, but people think 2nd gen 2500 and 3500 Rams are made of fucking gold or something.

I'm not dropping $12,000 on a truck that's been beaten harder than a 50 year old hooker.
Yeah, I don't know what that's all about. 300k and the doors falling off, 15k. Just barely broken in.
I got lucky when I bought my 07, since diesels follow the economy I can sell it for more now than I bought it for in 2012. It has nearly 200k on it and somehow it's worth over 20k. I'm only keeping it because it's the last half year of the 5.9 and a 4x4. I love that rattle trap.

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